Mood Disorders


    • Do you frequently feel depressed, sad, empty, or hopeless?
    • Do you have problems with anger or rage?
    • Does your mood fluctuate from feeling down and lacking energy to having an elevated or irritable mood with an abnormal amount of energy?
    • Are you having difficulty in areas of your life that are important to you and wish that you could have better control of your mood?
    • Do you wonder why God doesn’t help you?


Mood affects the way that we feel. Generally speaking, when we’re talking about how we feel in relationship to mood, it has to do with how we feel on the spectrum of sadness and joy. We have all felt some level of sadness and joy at different times in our lives. However, our mood can become disordered if it gets to a point where it is disruptive to areas of our lives for a particular length of time or if it causes us such disruption that it actually results in harm to self or others. Mood disorders can be very challenging to regulate and for some people, they can be debilitating and require medication in combination with psychotherapy. 


If you have struggled with a mood disorder such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder or some other type of mood disorder, you are not alone. Mood disorders can take on many forms, but depression is typically a major part of these disorders, so it’s important to understand that depression begins as an unconscious psychological conflict. Depression is essentially unconscious anger turned inward. I have a lot of experience helping people with all types of anger, depression, and mood disorders, including those that are not specifically mentioned in the DSM-5. 

For your reference, there are several different types of mood disorders as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), but the American Psychiatric Association separates them into two categories. One category is titled Bipolar and Related Disorders and the other category is titled Depressive Disorders

Although there are other mood disorders defined in the DSM-5, the most common include:

    • Bipolar Disorder I and II – Both disorders include manic episodes where the mood and behaviors are drastically different than normal and include changes such as unusual energy, activity or sleep patterns. Major depressive episodes are also present. 
    • Cyclothymic Disorder – Lasting for at least two years (one year for children), there have been numerous episodes of hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms that do not meet the criteria for either a hypomanic episode or a depressive episode. 
    • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder – Recurrent temper outburst that are grossly out of proportion in intensity or duration to the situation or provocation and inconsistent with developmental level, which have lasted for at least twelve months without a period of three or more consecutive months without such behavior within that period. Diagnosis should not be made prior to the age of 6 years old or after the age of 18 years old.
    • Major Depressive Disorder – General feeling of depression lasting most days for at least two weeks, some other symptoms may include diminished interest or pleasure, change in weight, appetite and sleep patterns, fatigue, and feeling of worthlessness. 
    • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia) – Persistent depressed mood for most of the day, for more days than not, for at least two years (one year for children and adolescents and may be characterized by irritable mood).
    • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder – Marked changes in mood in the final week prior to the onset of a woman’s menstrual cycle, which starts to improve within a few days after the onset of the cycle, and become minimal or absent in the week following the menstrual cycle. 
    • Substance/Medication-Induced Disorder (Bipolar and Related or Depressive) – Clinical symptoms of the other disorders, however history, physical examination, or laboratory findings indicate that the substance or medication intoxication or withdrawal is the cause. 
    • Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition (Bipolar and Related or Depressive) – Clinical symptoms of the other disorders, however history, physical examination or other findings indicate that the medical condition is the cause. 


Note: While some people do benefit from medications and some diagnoses may even require medication, psychotherapy should be part of the treatment. Medications do not cure; they only suppress the symptoms so that a person may feel more able to tolerate the hard work of psychotherapy. 


If you are committed to the therapeutic process and willing to acknowledge how your mood is having an effect on your ability to function to your full capacity in areas of your life that are important to you, including your spiritual life, psychotherapy or spiritual counseling from a Catholic therapist with my background and training can be very effective. While some people who experience a mood disorder have a general idea about when they started to feel depressed or had trouble with their mood, many people do not understand the complex unconscious psychological conflicts that started this general feeling and even why they may cling to it. Psychotherapy techniques can help you to understand this and put new language and meaning to things that you were not able to do on your own, so that you can find begin to believe that you do not have to continue to feel hopeless. You can learn how to have command authority over your body and make choices about what to do in any given moment, so that when your mood changes, your mood no longer gets to take control of you. 

My approach as a Catholic therapist, for clients who are seeking God’s help in their lives or who wish to include Catholic doctrine and even spiritual counsels, is to help you understand the relationship between depression and trust in God and how you can overcome depression by doing the psychological work and following the spiritual counsels that I offer. You can learn to trust in God’s Providence and Justice, no matter what happens to you, which will help you to learn how to respond to situations in life so that you no longer have to be depressed. There’s a psychological and a spiritual aspect that I have found to be highly beneficial to helping clients heal from mood disorders. My approach to treatment is unique and specific based on your individualized needs and I understand that some of my clients would prefer to keep their relationship with God separate from their psychological treatment. I have traditional psychotherapy methods for treating mood disorders as well, even for non-believers.   


I have had depression my whole life. I have tried counseling before. I doubt that anything can help me. 

This is a valid concern. Many people who experience depression and other mood disorders do so for long periods of time and often find it hard to feel hope that ANYTHING will work for them. While I can make no guarantees, research shows that the motivation and aptitude of the client who is being treated are the most important factors for client success. 

Most “counseling” or even “psychotherapy” models that are offered today are designed to be quick-fix techniques that are have been heavily marketed as being “highly-effective” in reducing symptoms, so when a client doesn’t experience healing and still has symptoms that are debilitating, they feel even less hope that anything can help them, which just perpetuates the feelings of hopelessness that people who are already depressed experience. Many of these models do not work with the unconscious to get to the core of what is causing the symptoms in the first place by only working with how to cope with the symptoms on a conscious level and completely disregard a person’s relationship with God.

My experience working with clients who experience depression and other mood disorders is that while they may never stop feeling sad because to feel sad is a normal human emotion, many can and do stop feeling controlled by the debilitating mood disorder that results in sufficient suffering to motivate them to start treatment and persevere in treatment. Your chances of success in psychotherapy and spiritual counseling increase, if you believe that the techniques will work. 

I’m a devout Catholic (Christian). I don’t lack faith or trust in God. 

I am a convert to the Catholic faith and it was hard for me to admit that I lacked trust too. Learning to understand what it means to trust completely in Divine Providence and Perfect Justice can be hard and putting it into practice can be even more difficult if you don’t have someone to help guide you. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Working through your unconscious conflicts and following spiritual counsels such as prayer, fasting and a sincere study of the faith can help you to make a trustful surrender to God so that no matter what happens to you, depression no longer has the power to control you. You can continue to be controlled by your depression or other mood disorder or learn how to have command authority over your mood.


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